BIOMIMICRY

Elmo Mistiaen, the founder and designer of the Brussels-based brand aidesign.png, transforms outerwear into biomorphic outdoor fashion by using AI-generated concepts that invoke otherworldly puffy designs, drawing (predominantly) on the insect world. SWARM Mag interviewed the artist on his practices.

What do you seek to add to the world as an artist?

I think AI images should add things to the world that could almost not be recreated by using any other traditional medium, and to really add uniqueness.

I want to create images and pieces that look so real that they could fool people into thinking they are. But I always add some twist or a weird thing that breaks the realism and lets people wonder if the image could truly be real or not.

In your AI artworks, you portray people wearing almost realistic clothes that are inspired by insects, yet something is disturbing about them. Is this what a utopian future or a real future looks like to you?

I love biomimicry and biomorphism and getting inspired by forms or processes in nature. I think this is really intriguing to combine with fashion and garments. I enjoy pushing the limits of what is possible and exploring how technology can be applied to produce truly extraordinary and unique images. I don’t necessarily think or want to show that these pieces are what the real future would look like, I just want to create out-of-this-world fashion that resembles biological processes or shapes.

Why does the insect world inspire you?

My images are heavily influenced by my fascination with insects and strange organisms. When I was younger, I was always totally obsessed with them. The intricate and distinctive natural designs of these creatures never cease to amaze me. The millions of different species, each with their own adaptive strategies and processes, are truly inspiring in terms of how they have adapted to their environments and interact with one another. 

Whether it be through the use of patterns, textures or shapes, I frequently combine these elements with the fashion ones. These components, in my opinion, give my work some intrigue and otherworldliness.

What is your favourite thing about fashion?

I love the feel and look of certain textures and fabrics. I truly like avant-garde pieces that look really weird and unpractical but still manage to captivate and intrigue me. I like to imagine people walking around in these almost sci-fi clothes in co

Why did you choose an AI art generator as a tool?

I am fascinated by the speed of prototyping and generating any image you can think of, with almost no cost and no real material expenses or waste. With AI editing, I am also capable of adding anything to the image while maintaining the perfect textures and lighting of the items.

Are there any limits to AI art?

AI still struggles to have coherence/continuity in between images. So it is not practical to show the exact same AI-generated image or piece in a different perspective or angle. This is also why AI videos are not ready yet. Each frame of the video will show a slight variation of the previous one, which in turn creates a cool trippy aesthetics but lacks the utility of a real video. But at the time of writing, I see that this is quickly developing, and will probably not be a limit anymore before the end of this year.

Have you ever been seized by the desire to bring the AI art you created to life?

Yes! I would love to make my fashion pieces into real, tangible items. I am making a selection of some pieces that I would like to develop further, and am talking with smaller designers and fashion students to realize this together. Not all items would be practical to make or wear in real life but some items would be really cool to make.

Outside of AI art, you are also focusing on biomorphic-inspired jewellery. Tell us more about your artistic process: what are your favourite tools to create jewellery?

Like my AI images, I am obsessed with organic shapes and insects/animals. I have designed some rings couple of months ago. I like to call them ‘biomorphic rings’ because they are inspired by biological organic forms and shapes, and I am planning to design more that resemble weird insects or plants. (They are available on @miosis.design)
I am also experimenting with AI to create unique visuals combining my real-life rings with AI, to let the rings transform into organic shapes and creatures.

I use the lost-wax technique to first create shapes with wax to cast them into silver afterwards. With wax, you can really create organic and fluid shapes that are not possible with other jewellery-making processes.

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Bio

Elmo Mistiaen graduated from Business Engineering at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2022. Now he is working as a freelance digital creator using AI to explore fashion, design and realistic textures combined with organic shapes and biological processes.

Credits

Designer / Elmo Mistiaenmain @elmo.mistiaen

Biomorphic jewellery @miosis.design

Interview /  Agáta Zapotilová

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